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Pharmacist jailed for illegally supplying over £850k worth of drugs

MHRA seized 560,000 diazepam, nitrazepam and zopiclone tablets from Mr Hussain’s pharmacies
MHRA seized 560,000 diazepam, nitrazepam and zopiclone tablets from Mr Hussain’s pharmacies

A Birmingham pharmacist has been sentenced to 28 months in prison for supplying class C controlled drugs worth between £850,000 and £1.4 million.

Sarfraz Hussain, 49, of Birmingham, was yesterday (February 20) sentenced to 28 months in prison at Birmingham Crown Court.

He had pleaded guilty in January to four counts of supplying class C controlled drugs and three counts of possession with intent to supply.

Mr Hussain, who operated three pharmacies in the Small Heath and Erdington districts of the city and in the nearby town of Halesowen, admitted to supplying or intending to supply 1,443,036 doses of the controlled drugs.

The drugs were estimated to have a combined street value of between £854,000 and £1.4m.

Mr Hussain did not hold the Home Office controlled drug licence required to trade, import or export controlled drugs. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency began investigating when it noticed that, despite this, he was still placing large orders for class C drugs with suppliers.

560,000  tablets seized 

The MHRA investigation revealed that Mr Hussain unlawfully supplied 31,537 packets of class C drugs, including zopiclone, diazepam, nitrazepam, zolpidem and zopiclone, between August 2015 and September 2016.

MHRA officers also seized 560,000 diazepam, nitrazepam and zopiclone tablets from Hussain’s three pharmacies.

Mark Jackson, MHRA head of enforcement, said: “It is a serious criminal offence to sell controlled drugs, which are also prescription-only medicines, without a prescription. We work relentlessly with regulatory and law enforcement colleagues to identify and prosecute those involved.

“Those who sell medicines illegally are exploiting vulnerable people and have no regard for their health. Prescription-only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision.”

15 Comments
Question: 
How do you feel when pharmacists are convicted of illegally selling drugs?

Yo Palumeri, Community pharmacist

Another failed private service.

Proceeds of crime act should be implemented

 

NHS Counter Fraud need to investigate the NHS Business

GPHC- fitness to practice

NHS -Fit person to run pharmacy contracts?

Massive PR boost for Community Pharmacists- "we are all at IT2

Yo Palumeri, Community pharmacist

Another failed private service.

Proceeds of crime act should be implemented

 

NHS Counter Fraud need to investigate the NHS Business

GPHC- fitness to practice

NHS -Fit person to run pharmacy contracts?

Massive PR boost for Community Pharmacists- "we are all at IT2

R A, Community pharmacist

My question is how come the police didnt actually investigate this criminals accountant or bank manager?

After all this individual bought huge quantities on credit for which a paper trail exists and yet if he was pushing this product onto street then sales would have been cash. Therefore no paper trail exists for the payment aspect. Any honest accountant worth their salt would have raised concern about this given the fact that it went on for so long. Simirlarly it surprises me the bank manager didnt question the sales?

The more I think about it the more troublesome it gets!

P T, Community pharmacist

The punishment is far too light for the crime. Hundreds of lives potentially ruined, all this illegal money made which will be impossible to get back and damaging the profession. The money he's probably made here, I wouldn't make in 10+ years so he's really just gotten away with it in my eyes. 

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

The wholesalers knew what they were doing and have seemed to have got away? Aren't they 'regulated'? They should have been in the dock alongside this man. Maybe they were even tipped off and they ignored the whistleblower?! 

Paul Gadsden, Locum pharmacist

Hear Hear! And how can this have gone on for so long without detection by regulators?

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

One could argue that MHRA were not aware that this was going on until some good wholesalers started reporting the issue. However, once they were aware, it's shameful that they took no action against the wholesalers who were serial offenders. The MHRA are fully aware the problem is huge but they don't want to deal with the wholesalers .. 'looking after their own' so to speak.

Paul Gadsden, Locum pharmacist

Derisory sentence, he should get 15 years for the damage he has done to countless people. Has he any insight into what it costs us taxpayers to treat a psychiatric patient, irreversibly mentally damaged by drugs he has supplied each year? He is a disgrace to the pharmacy profession and should be struck off immediately without all the rigmarole of an expensive ftp charade in Canary Wharf, which he should pay for. His shops should be repossessed and when he emerges from prison after 14 or less months, he should not be allowed to have an interest in a pharmacy employing unsuspecting Locums to prop him up. There is a pharmacy in Hampshire owned by someone who has been struck off, I don't see why GPhC allow it to happen.
Hussain has probably money laundered loads of money so hmrc ought to severely penalise him with more prison.
People  like Hussain give our profession an incredibly bad name.

geoffrey gardener, Community pharmacist

Yes spot on willserve just over a year, and doubtless have a nice little nest egg tucked away somewhere 

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

It is probably the tip of the iceberg... this guy got caught as he was ordering ridiculous quantities... if, for example he order half of that... would it have flagged?

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

Just put in google 'buy zopiclone online' and you get it for £44.99 , ran by 'online doctors ' in some far out 'country' . May be MHRA  should investigate these sites ? Probably not AS they are 'GP's'

David Kent, Community pharmacist

It’s not naughty it’s criminal.

David Kent, Community pharmacist

It’s not naughty it’s criminal.

Angry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Birmingham pharmacist 

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

This is some of the naughtiest pharmacisting I've ever seen!

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